Moving in Together? Take the Steps Needed to Protect Yourself and Your Partner
For couples both young and old who may be reluctant to get married, opting to live together may be a viable choice. As an experienced Fort Lauderdale domestic partnership attorney, we know that this can be mutually beneficial, but it still requires careful consideration. You may not have to go through the formalities of obtaining a legal divorce in the event the relationship does work out, but failing to protect yourself in advance can end up causing heartbreak, while potentially costing you and your partner significant amounts of money.
Four Ways to Protect Yourself When Cohabitating
According to studies from the Pew Research Center, as many as 10 percent of millennials opt to live together rather than tying the knot. Cohabitating is a viable option for older couples as well, providing companionship, shared resources, and letting them continue receiving benefits, such as a pension from a previous spouse, which they would otherwise lose if they remarried.
However, just because there is no legal document binding the two of you together does not mean that there are not important factors to consider. The following offers four ways to protect yourselves before deciding to live under the same roof:
- Discuss Your Expectations
Cohabitation may be used as a type of test run for marriage, or it may simply be a way of saving money on living costs. Whatever your motivations in taking this step, you can avoid misunderstanding by taking the time now to communicate your goals and expectations with your partner.
- Divide Household Expenses
Sit down in advance and thoroughly discuss your household expenses. The choice of whether to base each person’s contributions based on their income or to divide everything evenly is a personal one, but it needs to be addressed up front. Be sure to include utilities, food, and cleaning supplies in your calculations.
- Make Note of What Is ‘Yours, Mine, and Ours’
If you anticipate making purchases together, such as a television, furniture, appliances, or other big ticket items, be clear on who is paying for it and who the property ultimately belongs to in the event of a separation.
- Consider a Domestic Partnership
While not legally binding in the way a marriage is, a domestic partnership provides important protections. In Broward County, it can extend family rights in the event something happens to your partner, such as in a medical emergency or if they are incarcerated. In some cases, it can also allow you to obtain health benefits from your partner’s employer. It is a simple process to enter into and can be easily terminated if the relationship does not work out.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
Taking the time to thoroughly review your situation and to assess the risks involved before making the decision to live with your partner is a smart move. Protect yourself by getting sound legal guidance and contact the law offices of attorney Vanessa L. Prieto to request a consultation in our Fort Lauderdale office today.